Now that I have some connectivity, I wanted to get these pictures and some perspectives about what it was like being inside an RV while a tornado raged around outside.
The short answer: Not Fun! But…
We are still not quite sure what exactly hit us. The winds had to be in excess of 160 mph to do the damage it did but the “swirling” damage typical of a tornado is completely missing. Although it is being called a tornado, it must have been ground level wind shear. Perhaps a horizontal funnel due to the very high ground speed (60+ mph) it had. Might have just drug the tail of the twister out behind it all the way.
We see plenty of damage like this:
There were other RVs that suffered worse damage but no one was hurt.
Just before it hit us, Phillip, one of the workampers at this KOA, knocked on the door to tell us that it was headed this way and we could go take shelter in the meeting room. Hail between marble and jaw breaker sizes was crashing down on him and he wore only a baseball cap.
He was very lucky to not be hurt but I am sure it was still painful. I quickly thanked him, closed the door, walked back into the bedroom where Merrily was lying on the floor between the foot of the bed and the bedroom storage drawers. I glanced out of the side window to see hurricane strength winds blowing all sorts of stuff past us. I knew it was too late to try to leave the RV, even if it was only to jump into the ditch 20 feet behind us.
When we parked here 2 months ago, I had made a mental note that this ditch would be a good place to shelter in a pinch. Had this tornado been much stronger, it would have definitely been better than the meeting house up at the entrance which got a direct hit and some damage.
For a moment, a 12 inch piece of pink insulation wafted up to the window and paused momentarily before instantly disappearing from view. Must have been a little eddy current there due to the Kitchen slideout protrusion.
The good fortune for us is that we were sheltered from most of the flying debris by the heavy bush and cedar trees lining the deep drainage ditch right behind us. The trees heavily covered in vines that blew over onto the rear of DaKotR acted like a blast shield and deflected the wind up and over us.
Looking at what the wind took out from directly behind us,
Notice the cedar tree stub just to the left of the transformer. That tree exploded and pieces landed on us and clear across the street.
It seems that we got some of the strongest winds in the park blew right over us. This is the only spot that they were completely gone in that whole row.
I sure appreciate the workmanship and materials of the King of The Road we have. Despite the huge weight of the trees on the back of it and on the big slideout, it did not crumple, crush or warp at all. It’s really too bad they are no longer building RVs.
I have posted a lot more photos to view in a set of time ordered albums on my Picasa site. http://www.picasaweb.google.com/emeryn I hope you find this informative.
I am keeping this relatively short to encourage more readers to read the whole thing. I will be filling in more information about this experience in the coming days.
Meanwhile, I hope this answers a lot of your questions.